December 25, 2007

Seven Things

The knitting has not been going terribly well. But in a properly festive holiday spirit, I present...

Seven Things That Make Me Happy

1. The shiny new cast iron skillet TB gave me. Cast iron has many virtues, including heat retention and an almost perfectly non-stick surface when properly seasoned. But mostly it excels at frying the shit out of large hunks of meat. The eating, it will be good around here.

2. My friend Kelley, who told me "I planned to buy you yarn, but then I found Jesus." This finding Jesus thing seemed wildly out of character, until you realize that by "Jesus", she meant this figurine, a most stellar addition to my religious kitsch collection.


3. Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies from TwinKnit. I am not a baker by inclination (measuring things not exactly being my strong point). But spicy chocolate cookies with cayenne pepper? Dude. So damn tasty.

4. These socks. Standard sock pattern in Trekking XXL, and a Jaywalker (yes, it's too small, thanks for asking) in Knitpicks Bare Koolaid-dyed by me.


The Trekking is particularly charming, because the color shifts imperceptibly moment-by-moment. I thought this would make me knit faster to get to the next color change, but actually I just stop every thirty seconds to admire the colors. Wouldn't you?


5. Harmony wood DPNs. Sharp, slippy-yet-grippy and festively colored. Possibly the Perfect Form of sock knitting needles. I love them so much I split up the set between the two pairs of socks, so I could always be using at least three of them at a time. I suggest DPN sock knitters buy themselves several sets ASAP.

6. Glitter glue pens.

How have I lived this long without glitter glue pens? Take a little poster paint, cheap cardboard boxes from Michael's, a glitter glue pen, and the images of your choice, and you get something like this:


7. The single best Christmas card I have ever received (thanks, Craft Pirate!).


So happy holidays, everyone!

I'll be back in the New Year.

December 16, 2007


Just popping in to announce that I clearly have the best boyfriend in the entire world. Because he gave me this last week for a birthday/early Christmas present...

400 yards of Lobster Pot Yarns 100% cashmere in the Red River beach colorway, purchased at Purl Soho. This color is apparently so rich and lovely that my camera has a seizure every time I try to photograph it. In real life, it's an ever-so-slightly variegated deep barn red. It's the most beautiful yarn I have ever seen and I'm terribly sorry I can't do it photographic justice.

As if that wasn't enough, for inspiration, he also gave me Knitting New Scarves, which is chock-full of intriguing new techniques. I'm not sure any of them are right for this yarn, as the complexity of the scarves might obscure the simple beauty of the yarn itself, but I will be making some of these scarves very soon.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, to find the perfect scarf pattern! Any suggestions for something simple but still pretty, preferably something that provides maximum cashmere-to-body contact?

December 10, 2007

I rock at buying stuff

The WEBS excursion weekend-before-last was a roaring success, as expected. I spent a total of $8 of my own money (thank you former coworkers!), and I bought very little completely unnecessary yarn.

All the other yarn was purchased with a specific upcoming project planned, so I get to feel smug AND financially responsible AND have a lot of pretty new yarn. Which is awesome.

Queensland Collection, Kathmandu DK (2 balls)

Kristy asked if I got any tweed…and of course I did. It was half price! And tweed!

This particular tweed is awfully pretty and soft, and I’m kind of wishing I bought a lot of it. In many different colors. But I only got two balls, with two specific Christmas projects in mind.

One project is almost done already, and I’d love to show it off, but it’s a secret. Well, less secret since I had to ask the recipient to measure her own head yesterday, but I’m still pretending she’ll be surprised.

Because no one would ever guess why a knitter would ask about their head measurements. Shut up.

Shibui Knits Sock (2 skeins). Couldn’t resist.

Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran (3 balls)

Destined to be a matching hat for my cabled scarf. Pictured here with some of my most recent Knitpicks yarn, the aforementioned cabled scarf and the Waving Lace sock I cast on last week. You can just see the Debbie Bliss in the upper left-hand corner. And yes, they are all basically the same color (but, uh, different textures and fibers and plies, so really not all that similar, right???).

Okay, it’s possible I’m somewhat obsessed.

Rounding out the WEBS extravaganza were a few not-terribly-exciting-but-perfect-for-gift-knitting balls of Regia sock yarn and a Dale of Norway pattern booklet for a completely impractical but quite lovely and knittable shawl. Plus, the back issue of KnitScene that includes the Central Park hoodie pattern.

I’m very, very pleased.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, I’m also the proud owner of The Cutest Hat in the World. I did not knit this hat, nor did anyone I know, but Kelley did buy it as an early birthday gift while we were in Northampton because I was so smitten with it.


It's toasty warm, fits perfectly, doesn’t mash my hair and is entirely adorable. Thanks, lady!

And it couldn’t have come at a better time because the weather has been complete ass around here. Take today’s weather forecast: Periods of freezing drizzle...a chance of freezing rain and sleet this morning...then a chance of sleet... Rain...freezing rain with a slight chance of snow this afternoon.

Ah, New England. Sleet this morning, followed by a chance of sleet. And don't you love how the forecast covers all the bases? Sleet, freezing rain, snow AND regular rain all possible at some point. I expect they wanted to throw in "rain of toads" and "record-shattering heat wave" just to make 100% certain they didn't miss anything.

I grew up in places with civilized weather (either rain or snow, not this foul mix of both), so could someone please explain the difference between freezing rain and sleet?

I’d really like to know, because when I have my annual winter wipe out on an unshovelled, unsalted icy sidewalk, it will be very nice to know whether to blame freezing drizzle followed by freezing rain, or sleet followed by sleet. Sigh.

There is something redeeming about all this lousy weather, though.

Knitting wooly socks seemed a little silly when it was warm out. Now my toasty warm feet tell me I'm actually a SUPER GENIUS with excellent advance planning skills.

November 30, 2007

Speaking of DPNs

I need new ones because I split the effing tip off one Lantern Moon DPN and another tip is starting to chip off.

Has this happened to anyone else? I’ve never split a tip on any other kind of wood or bamboo needles. Nor have I been particularly abusive of this set. It’s gotta be the needles, right?

I really love the look and feel of the Lantern Moon needles (rich red/brown wood, the perfect grip/slip ratio, decent points), but they’re ridiculously expensive if you can only knit three pairs of socks before the needles disintegrate.

Any recommendations for a less expensive, but still smooth and decently-pointy replacement? I find Clover bamboos just aren’t pointy enough for lace knitting. And my vise-like knitting grip means metal needles hurt my hands.

What do you like to use??

Reports of my death, etc.

Crap, where did the last two weeks go??

I wish I could say I’d been writing this whole time, but really I’ve just been busy with school (final presentation done, final paper will be finished this weekend), and work (where every single project I’ve been working on for months collapsed in a smoking ruin at my feet), and (happily) knitting.

Let’s focus on the knitting, shall we?

First, I finished the second Fancy Silk Sock over Thanksgiving and I love it very much.


Pattern: Fancy Silk Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks
Needles: Mostly Lantern Moon rosewood DPNs, size 2
Yarn: Regia Silk, two balls with quite a bit left over
Mods: I added four heel stitches to make up for my very tight stockinette knitting

Thoughts: a number of people mentioned that Vintage Socks patterns look much better on the foot than they do in the book. And I have to agree - look how much prettier the socks are when worn.


Also, the lace pattern was just enough to keep things interesting – it’s a 12 row pattern repeat, but it’s really just three repeats of the same four rows, with one extra special fun row thrown in. Oh Row 9, how I enjoyed you each time!

As for my other fixation, the Irish Hiking Scarf proceeds. The cable row is just as thrilling as it was when I first started, but the joy of knitting a five foot long ribbed project is waning a bit. Stupid ribbing. It looks exactly the same as it did in the last picture, just eight inches longer.

So here, look at some new yarn instead.




Knitpicks Gloss in Burgundy, Risata in Cocoa, and Gloss again in Woodland Sage. Here in The Land of Failed Yarn Diets, this is just an appetizer for tomorrow’s yarn binge.

Kelley promised herself a WEBS trip when she finished her baby sweater. See, finished! And so damn cute!

That kind of knitting certainly deserves a reward. Aaaaand, I have a Webs gift certificate and all...

So my plan is to fondle, though not necessarily purchase, the following at Webs tomorrow:

1. Shibui and Trekking Pro Natura sock yarn
2. Berrocco Peruvia (mostly because I have a truly shameful amount of Berrocco Ultra Alpaca already, and this yarn comes in similarly gorgeous heathered shades but has none of the “Crazy Alpaca Lady” baggage)
3. New DPNs
4. Misc. small knitty gifts for friends
5. Pinkish yarn to make this – sorry non-Ravelers, this is double secret gift knitting
6. Very Bad Lady Kristy also mentioned that Queensland Kathmandu tweed is on sale, and I will do my level best to resist its tweedy delights, but I am not optimistic.

November 18, 2007

Don't let that get in your way

When other people talk about being bad knitters, I try to reassure them that knitting takes practice. And no one is judging their mistakes.

For example, last week one of my classmates mentioned that she never felt comfortable going to a SNB because she didn’t think she was “good enough at knitting.” I assured her that SNBs were open to all skill levels and that the other knitters would welcome her enthusiastically. We’ve all been beginners at some point.

Then the next day, the woman sitting next to me on the train mentioned that she learned to knit last year. But she said she doesn’t do it much because she’s “horrible at it.” I laughed and said “you just can’t let that get in the way.”

What I should have said is that everyone is horrible at first, and it gets much easier the more you do it. And that the great thing about knitting is that it really doesn’t matter if you suck. The important thing is that you enjoy doing it.

That’s what I say to other people. And I believe it when I say it.

But in my own life, I strenuously avoid things I’m not good at, and I have a near-pathological terror of making mistakes (though not so much with the knitting, thankfully, given my mistake-to-success ratio).

I seem to think I should already be good at everything, even things that take practice. When I struggle or make mistakes, I feel stupid and slow, and I berate myself for it. Like if I were just a better/more focused/smarter/dedicated person I could magically develop skills out of the ether.

This often keeps me from trying new things, taking risks or making commitments. The prime example? I want to write. And I’m not giving myself time or permission to write because I’m desperately afraid I’ll suck at it.

No more. Because maybe I don’t have to be good at it right away, and maybe my writing doesn’t have to be perfect. I just need to do it.

Because it’s important to me. And because doing it - even badly – would be better than not doing it at all.

Much like knitting.

(Please note, I’m not implying that blogging isn’t writing or that it’s less valuable or less demanding than other kinds of writing. I'm talking about writing fiction).

November 13, 2007

Easy entertainment

I know I’ve been rhapsodizing over the lace sock knitting recently, but I’ve got something else on my mind and on my needles too…


Cables. Twisty, easy to knit, yet complicated-looking cables.


This Irish Hiking Scarf pattern is pretty much mindless except for the cable row, and yet it’s such a thrill every single time the stitches CROSS OVER EACH OTHER.

I know I’m easily amused, but does anyone else get such a big kick out of basic cables? Like turning a heel – it’s a series of simple steps, but I feel like a genius every time.

While I usually thoroughly enjoy knitting, the Fancy Silk Sock and this scarf are something special. Even when I’m not actively knitting them, I feel happier knowing that I will be knitting them sometime soon. They’re both such good knits, in such beautiful yarns, that I’m smiling right now, just thinking about them. Now that’s some powerfully enjoyable knitting there.

My poor stockinette sock in Austermann step just can’t compete. Though I’m considering ripping out the heel and turning the sock into a legwarmer, for a little variety. I think the promise of blue-striped legwarmers might get this back into the queue.

And since I’m in the middle of so many projects, now seems like The Perfect Time to start another project. [In my defense, I wasn’t actively looking for another sock pattern, but a knitterly coworker sent me a link to the Forest Canopy Shawl and I happened to notice an intriguing sock pattern in the sidebar.]

Check out the Lombard Street socks.

Do you see what I see?

Lace AND cables, baby. Sah-weet!

November 12, 2007

Día de los calcetines

The sock love continues. The entirely awesome Olga sent me the most wonderful package last week.

There was chocolate with chipotle chili (I'm pretty sure smoky, spicy and chocolaty might be some previously undiscovered holy trinity), and knitty notecards, and stitch markers...


Did you see!?!? Skull stitch markers!! How have I been knitting this long without skull stitch markers? Every time I get to the end of the round I actually go "Woo-hoo!" Sometimes out loud.

There were other Dia de los Muertos and Mexican-inspired goodies too, which were particularly well-chosen because I grew up in Tucson, and they remind me of home.

I also have a fair-size collection of these goodies of my own. So Olga, this is Frida's new spot on my bookcase. I like to think she'll feel right at home.


But most importantly, there was this sock. The Fancy Silk Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks, to be exact.


And oh, this sock.... Not only does it fit perfectly, but the yarn (Regia Silk) is the softest and most delicious yarn imaginable.


Don't you just love the fancy cuff? And everything else about the pattern?

The best part? I have a whole other skein of Regia Silk to play with because I'll be knitting the second sock for myself.

The pattern and yarn are so thoroughly enjoyable, I think this bad boy will fly off the needles.

Thank you, Olga!

November 10, 2007


I know it's November and all, but really every month is sock month 'round these parts. And I did squeeze in a fair amount of sock knitting while working on my October goals.

As for the other October goals, let's just say my results were "mixed."

1. Finish September socks - DONE

2. Start toe-up socks.

I tried. I really, really tried. I followed the highly recommended toe-up sock with short-row toe and heel pattern from Knitty. And I Just. Didn’t. Get. It. Then I tried the Interweave toe-up sock tutorial, which also resulted in a rather impressive series of failures, much cursing, and (possibly) flinging of yarn around the room.

This flirtation with toe-up socks also required an uncomfortable foray into crocheting that I do not care to repeat, though I felt pretty bad-ass when I managed to do a provisional cast-on without growing another hand (which I was sure was required to manage crochet hook and knitting needle simultaneously).

So I knit Queen of Cups instead. Which was by far the most complicated sock I’ve ever attempted, so I’m damn proud of myself anyway.

3. Finish Wicked. – Let us never speak of it again.

4. Swatch for Tangled Yoke - Turns out my passion for this pattern is actually almost completely offset by my loathing of swatching. So no swatching yet. But soon.

5. Starting another basic stockinette sock is permissible, but not required.


I did start another basic sock in Austermann Step. The Daft Crafter has an impressive tribute to the joys of this yarn, in verse, that you might want to check out.

Those of you on yarn diet watch (and Jess, I mean you) may wonder how I got this yarn. I used the “specific knitted gifts” loophole to buy it for my friend Kelley’s first sock knitting attempt. But she didn’t love the colorway, so we found her something prettier. And, um, Windsor Button’s really far away? And I haven’t gotten around to returning it yet? And I don’t have any blue socks? And I COULDN’T POSSIBLY PART WITH IT.

And speaking of the yarn diet, I also bought this:


In fact, I specifically, knowingly and gleefully broke my yarn diet for this yarn because it’s the most beautiful sock yarn I have ever seen. And really, who can resist a yarn called “Fetish Superwash,” in the “Nymph” colorway? I feel like a naughty little minx every time I look at it. Which is often.

Plus, it knits up like this. That Valerie is a tricksy one with her pretty, pretty yarns. And she has many more delights available in her store. Also, she’s very nice and you should buy lots of things from her.

I haven’t decided what to knit with it yet, because this yarn deserves something very, very special. I’m thinking something in a lacy sock.

Because all I want to do all the time is knit lacy socks.

November 8, 2007

In my cups

First, thank you for all the sympathy, humor and boobie jokes. You all are awfully nice. And it honestly takes a lot of the sting out of doing something that spectacularly stupid if I can make other people laugh. So thank you!

And no, I have not frogged the rest of Wicked, nor have I restarted it. It’s actually wadded up in a bag next to my couch, where I can cast disparaging glances at it as I walk by. I like to think it feels my disapproval through the plastic bag and will behave itself better next time, whenever next time may be. Though I may need to step up from "disparaging glances" to "carefully aimed swift kicks" to get my point across.

And, though sorely tempted, I have not in fact been drinking this whole time.

I’ve actually been knitting.

Fittingly enough, I recently finished a Queen of Cups sock.

I thought this lace pattern was really interesting and different. Not floral or leafy or geometric. More like, well, wine glasses. And I do love me some wine. Plus, I worried that something more floral would look like tarty black panty lace. Which is fine for panties, don't get me wrong, but not so good for socks.

I realize that this sock’s complexity and loveliness is in no way represented by these ass-tastic pictures. But black yarn doesn’t photograph well, especially at the tail end of a gloomy November day.

You won’t be seeing better shots from me though, because this sock has been sent to a fellow knitter (the talented and funny, if awfully fond of dark yarn, Specs) who will knit its mate.

I'm just thrilled that she liked it and hope she has as much fun knitting it as I did! 'Cause I actually didn't mind knitting a black sock one bit.

The only problem is that TB saw me working on it and is now agitating for black socks of his own!

October 31, 2007

I didn't really want a sweater anyway

I finally did it. I frogged Wicked. The top half just looked awful on me, and I knew I would never, ever wear it.

So tonight at SNB, I took the big step, and ripped out half of it.

I was so very proud of myself.

Finally, I was a knitter With Standards. A knitter who wouldn't settle for substandard work. A knitter who stood up for Getting it Right.

Which is all well and good. Except, I ripped out the wrong half.

You'll have to excuse me, I have some important drinking to do.

It's not a stash - it's a backup plan

In case the dead rise from the grave with a ravening hunger for human flesh today, you might want to check your odds of surviving.

Me? I’m shit out of luck.


Though if I was forced to barricade myself in my apartment to avoid the teeming masses of the undead, all that stash yarn would look less like hoarding and more like good contingency planning.

In fact, if I ever own a yarn shop, that will be my slogan: Buy today. Because tomorrow the zombies may come.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

October 25, 2007

A Wicked thing to do

I am one faux cable cuff away from finishing Wicked. It’s looking awfully pretty.

I haven’t blogged about the nearness of first sweater victory because it just doesn’t fit.

The body is perfect up to a few inches below the armpit, but then it blooms grotesquely into ginormous bagginess. Plus, the sleeves are really, really huge. It’s possible the collar also has an unpleasant Flashdance thing going on.

And just to be clear. When I say the sleeves are huge, I mean it.

They make me look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man.

Clearly, Denial is not just a river in Egypt . It is a wide and mighty river that flows right through my living room, because I knit two of these gigantic sleeves. Wicked was knit top-down, so this also means I screwed up at the very beginning when I decided how many stitches to cast on, then compounded the original screw-up as I increased and increased and increased through the yoke. I’m trying very hard not to be bitter about this.

For some reason, it cheers me considerably that my friend Kelley had much the same experience with her first sweater.

This is the first version of her baby sweater (pardon the blurry picture – the light was bad and I was laughing, cruelly).

Truly, she is my student.

I’m seriously considering ripping out both sleeves and the yoke and reknitting them in a size that will actually fit, bottom-up this time. I’ll also knit the collar on smaller needles to keep it from going all Jennifer Beals on me.

I’ve never ripped out that much work before and the idea is frankly a little nauseating. But I’d really like to have a wearable sweater.

So what do you all think? Live with it, since it’s my first sweater and all, or send it to the frog pile?

And can I just rip out the top half of a top-down sweater and start knitting it bottom-up, or will that screw up my stitches?

October 22, 2007

Plenty of yarn in the sea

Considering how long it took me to knit both these pairs of socks, I figured they deserved a proper FO post.

FO1 - Basic Socks


Pattern: 68 stitch cast on with 4-row picot edge, 19 stitches picked up at the gusset, forceful denial that the sock is miniscule throughout all stages of knitting both socks.
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Happy Stripe
Needles: Clover bamboo DPNs, size 1
Gauge: 10 st/inch
Made For: Megan (of the dainty feet), by default
Notes: on the second sock, I knit the first row of gusset stitches through the back loop, as was recommended in the Monkey pattern. This twists and tightens the stitches and makes for a rather pretty textural look. Plus, less gapping. I think I’ll do this on all my basic socks from now on.

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have knit a bigger sock than these wee socks for Megan, because the yellow would have pooled throughout the sock, rather than just at the gusset. This pooling thing is starting to piss me off.

FO2 - Monkeys


Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Clay
Needles: Clover bamboo DPNs, size 2
Gauge: 9 st/inch in stockinette, but I purl very loosely
Made For: Me, me, me!
Notes: Again with the pooling at the gussets! The darker and lighter colors split perfectly on opposite sides...


...but as soon as I got back to 64 stitches in pattern, it went right back to semi-striping. Plus, the brown bits in the second skein (SAME DYE LOT) were much darker, so the two socks don’t match exactly. But ask me how much I love my Monkeys anyway?

Now I'm trying to make a difficult decision. Lorna’s Laces makes some really lovely yarn, and the socks wear pretty well, but I really don’t like pooling. So I’m considering breaking up with Lorna’s Laces.

But maybe I’m being unfair? LL is pretty much the only non-self striping highly variegated sock yarn I’ve ever used. So maybe ALL yarn has a tendency towards pooling and I’m just being unfair to poor Lorna’s Laces? Maybe other sock yarns have wildly different colors in the same dye lot? Maybe I should give it another chance?

But with all the lovely sock yarns out there, why knit with something that has disappointed me in the past?

October 14, 2007


On one gorgeous island...



One gang of smart, lovely, hilarious, and talented knitters...



[Aside: the Craft Pirate is no less smart, lovely, talented and hilarious - I just managed to go an entire weekend without taking a single picture of her - though I assure you she was there, and awesome.]

A shocking amount of yarn...

A ball winder and swift for winding up all that yarn...


[Aside: I'm pretty sure I know what my next big purchase will be, because DAMN is that ballwinder/swift combo some sweeeeeeeet shit]

Combine all ingredients for 2 days, at roughly 50-65 degrees, with plenty of sunshine and salt air...


Yield: one perfect, relaxing, inspiring, and all-around-wonderful weekend.

You might even end up with a finished object...


Or two...


Warning: side effects may include overeating, staying up ridiculously late, laughing so hard your stomach hurts, staying in your PJs all day, walking through a pitch black seven-acre corn maze without a flashlight, and starting to have fantasies about quitting your job, moving to Martha's Vineyard and raising sheep, whose fiber you will process, spin and knit in a ramshackle weathered shingle-covered gingerbread house surrounded by knotty salt-seared oaks.

Also, those particularly sensitive to bucolic fantasies may also begin to wonder if a wee spotted pig with bristly ears and a sweet, snuffly little piggy snout would technically violate their apartment building's firm "No Pets" policy.

Livestock isn't exactly a pet, right??

October 12, 2007


Thanks everyone for the sympathy and good wishes for my AWOL suitcase.

The suitcase arrived first thing the next morning, but thankfully not before I bought some fetching charcoal wool trousers and the sweetest little black ballet flats (little being a relative term of course, as all shoes in my size are in fact honkingly gigantic).

I rarely feel completely justified buying new shoes, so really it all worked out pretty well.

Much sock knitting was accomplished on the plane, but The Stinky Bitches and I are off to Martha's Vineyard for a fabulous weekend of cooking, knitting and relaxing.

Edited to add, it's possible I've overpacked.


Many more pictures and goodies on my return.

October 8, 2007

There's always a bright side

So I'm in Iowa for work. My suitcase, however, is not. The fine people at American Airlines customer service do not know where it is, nor when I can reasonably expect them to find it.

I'm trying to view this as an adventure - like camping, but with a flush toilet and toilet paper. And a fully stocked 24 hour "convenience mart" in the lobby, where I can likely procure such necessities as a toothbrush and deodorant.

As well as all my work clothes and personal hygiene necessities, my suitcase also contains my laptop power cord, so blogging and commenting may be even spottier than usual to conserve laptop power for the actual working.

The upside? I have made all kinds of good sock knitting progress.

Thank goodness I carried all the knitting in my purse...

October 4, 2007

Putting the 'R' in SMART

You may have heard that your goals are supposed to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely. I’ve had a long-standing goal to be flexible enough to bend at the waist and put my palms flat on the floor. That is a SMART goal. Most importantly, it is a realistic goal.

Less realistic would be getting flexible enough to do this...

Or this...

What does that have to do with knitting? Well, in writing up my September to-knit list, I clearly decided that ‘realistic’ goals just weren’t my thing. I’m not sure how I thought I could knit three socks in two weeks. Especially since September was really busy and I’ve never knit three socks in two weeks.

This is what I actually did accomplish.

1. Second sock for TB - DONE

2. Second picot sock - Fixed the picot edging, knit the leg and am cruising through the heel flap. The problem is, there’s no way these socks will fit the intended recipient, who has size 9 ½ feet like mine. I tried the finished first sock on several times and totally lied to myself decided they just might fit. In retrospect, I realize it was much like Cinderella’s stepsisters trying to jam their honking feet into a wee glass slipper.

Then Megan (of the dainty feet) tried on the first sock and the damn thing fits her size 6 foot perfectly. So I guess that makes her Cinderella. Except she gets socks instead of a prince. Though if I could accidentally knit a prince, that would be awesome.

3. Second Monkey - Just finished the gusset decreases.

4. Fix sleeve on Wicked - Not so much.

Okay, I understand now that there’s a difference between challenging yourself to accomplish things and making an unrealistic list that just makes you feel like a big, cranky failure. So here’s my October To-Knit List, realistic edition.

1. Finish September socks.

2. Start toe-up socks. I’ve never done toe-up socks, and I always have a ton of yarn left over. So in honor of Socktoberfest, I’m learning something new. I’m intrigued by Leyburn (also see quite lovely Leyburn-inspired baby sweater here).

3. Finish Wicked.

4. Swatch for Tangled Yoke.

5. Starting another basic stockinette sock is permissible, but not required.
In yoga terms, I’m setting my knitting goals here...

Photos made possible by the generosity and amazing thrift shop mojo of Awesome Meredith, knitterly friend/amateur yogi extraordinaire. Not only does she find unintentionally smutty knitting patterns, but she also found the hugely entertaining Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga (by Swami Vishnudevananda), AND she was actually willing to part with such a treasure. Thanks!

September 27, 2007

St Ends

The Double Secret Gift Knitting has finally been gifted! I bet most of you can recognize the pattern on sight…


Yup, it’s Branching Out, from Knitty. In Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (oh, how I love you, Silky Wool).

My first Branching Out was my very first lace project. I was appalled to find that this was considered an ‘easy’ lace pattern, because it firmly kicked my ass. Repeatedly. I despaired of ever being a real knitter, if I couldn’t even knit an easy lace pattern.

However, by the time I finished the scarf, I actually reached the point where I could ‘read’ the lace as I was knitting it. The symmetry of the pattern made it fairly easy to predict what I should be doing next. I still screwed up at least once per ten row repeat, but I got much better at quickly finding and fixing my mistakes.

And the end result was very, very pretty, but not terribly practical for New England, since it’s not actually, you know, warm. I realized it was just about perfect for a slightly chilly fall day in, let’s say, California. Hmmm…

And so the Best Friend Scarves idea was born. I could knit Quinn a scarf just like mine, in a different color! It would be like those goofy heart-shaped necklaces popular in junior high (where each necklace has half a heart-shaped charm, one saying ‘BE FRI’ and the other saying ‘ST ENDS’), but with knitting! Awesome!

So I knit it again. And gave it a chance to visit with my scarf before packing it off to California.


The scarves even got to frolic in the last of the summer flowers.


And now whenever I wear my scarf, I’ll think about how very much I adore my best friend. Because, really, you can’t ever be reminded of that often enough.

September 25, 2007

What would ??? do

Someone recently asked me where I see myself in five years, and I actually started laughing. It was not one of my finer moments as far as being a grown-up goes.

While I’m not really a big fan of long-term planning, I am beginning to think that “hope interesting stuff magically happens” isn’t working out so well either.

Quinn suggested awhile ago that she was considering “What Would Cher Do” as a personal mantra when faced with difficult decisions or awkward situations. I suggested “What Would Darth Vader Do” instead (Aside - choosing your decision-making role model is almost endlessly entertaining if you, like me, are easily entertained).

Now seemed as good a time as any to revisit this question. But I couldn’t really decide on exactly the right role model, so I’m just going for W.W.S.W.A.P.D. – What Would Someone with a Plan Do. It gives you the same kind of guidance as the What Would Jesus Do folks get, but it’s for agnostics with poor goal-setting skills.

So far I’ve identified the following things that Someone with a Plan might do:

1. Have a plan, including long-term goals

2. Set specific, actionable short and medium-term goals that will move you towards your long-term goals

Well shit, this is going to be way harder than I thought...

September 21, 2007

This goal thing really works



A real live finished object!


Project Specs

Yarn: Austermann Step, contest booty from the Craft Pirate

Needles: Lantern Moon rosewood DPNs, size 2

Pattern: generic sock with garter stitch heel flap(72 stitch cast on)

Model: TB himself, who informed me that I was required to actually put the socks on him prior to taking pictures, because if he was going to model, he was going to be a diva about it, right as we were taking the Extra Super Manly shot


Notes: This was my first time using Austermann Step, and I really can't say enough good things about it. Smooth, soft on the hands (it does have aloe and jojoba after all) and non-randomly self-striping (making it entirely possible to knit a perfectly matched pair with minimal fiddling). The red bits did appear to have a magical pooling ability that defied all logic, in that it pooled slightly at 72 stitches for the leg, 84+ stitches at the gusset, and all the way through the toe decreases down to 16 stitches.

I'm pretty sure this is impossible and will not happen to you, as the laws of physics would surely prevent it. So I suggest you run out and buy yourself some as soon as possible.